Najib in panic mode
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is in panic mode.
His latest attack of nerves that he would fulfil the “RAHMAN” prophecy as the last UMNO Prime Minister in Malaysia in the 14th General Election came about because of an unprecedented concatenation of external and internal developments.
Externally, the 1MDB scandal which had brought Malaysia worst infamy and ill-repute in nation’s history transforming Malaysia overnight into a global kleptocracy, has just refused to die.
Although Najib had wished in his 2016 New Year Message on 31st December 2015 that his RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion donation twin mega scandals had been resolved an d were no more issues, events have proved that he could not be more wrong.
For almost every month in the past 19 months since Najib’s 2016 New Year Message, the 1MDB scandal, far from disappearing into thin air, has gathered increasing speed, momentum and power as the biggest kleptocratic scandal in the world, promising even to out-live Najib’s premiership.
In July 2016, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed its largest kleptocratic lawsuits to forfeit over US$1 billion of 1MDB-linked assets embezzled from 1MDB funds and money-laundered through American banks, a detailed lawsuit covering some 126 pages which highlighted the role of “MO1”.
Eleven months later, in June 2017, despite the elaborate charade by the Malaysian Government and key national institutions that there is no such thing as the 1MDB scandal and no 1MDB funds had been lost, US DOJ filed a third series of forfeiture litigation against 1MDB-linked assets, increasing the total worth of the assets targeted for forfeitures to US$1.7 billion derived from the embezzlement and money-laundering of some US$4.5 billion 1MDB funds.
The US DOJ forfeiture litigation, spelling out the details of the international web of 1MDB money-laundering, was expanded from 126 pages in July 2016 to 251 pages in June 2017. From “MO1”, the US DOJ suits in June 2017 mentioned “wife of MO1” and the RM117 million 22-carat diamond necklace presented as a gift to “wife of MO1” from embezzled and laundered 1MDB funds.
When US DOJ first filed the kleptocratic forfeiture suits of 1MDB-linked assets in July 2016, Barack Obama was the US President. When US DOJ filed the third series of kleptocratic forfeiture suits of 1MDB-linked assets in June 2017, Donald Trump was the US President.
So much for all the misleading talk and speculation that the US DOJ kleptocratic suits had been politically motivated and could be settled provided there is personal chemistry and magical relations between the occupants of Sri Perdana and the White House.
The next break in the US DOJ investigations into the 1MDB scandal would the criminal charges against the mastermind of 1MDB scandal, Penang billionaire Low Tasek Joh, also known as Jho Low, as reported in the international media earlier this year.
The US action is part of global investigations from about 10 countries based on billions of dollars embezzled and money-laundered from 1MDB.
There was also recent action in Singapore, with the conviction and imprisonment of the fifth former banker in Singapore, Yeo Jiawei, a wealth planner with BSI Singapore, for embezzlement and money-laundering of 1MDB money.
Singapore has also closed down the branches of two foreign banks for moving 1MDB-tainted money.
Yesterday, it was reported that a United Kingdom Opposition MP, Ann Clwyd (Labour) had tabled an early day motion (EDM) in the House of Commons on the 1MDB scandal.
The motion stated that the House of Commons was alarmed by the allegation of misappropriation that supposedly took place in 1MDB, and encouraged the Malaysian government to allow international observers to be present in the 14th general election.
The immediate question is whether the Malaysian Parliament, which is reconvening on Monday, will stop its “ostrich” stance of “burying its head in the sand” and allow a full debate on the 1MDB scandal, although I have my greatest doubts as I had been suspended from Parliament for six months precisely because I wanted the Prime Minister to give full accounting for the 1MDB scandal.
But the 1MDB scandal is not the only past scandal Najib has to worry about, as another “phantom” has come alive, with the French authorities indictingtwo French executives in connection with graft over the US$1.1 billion Scorpene submarine sale to Malaysia fifteen years ago in 2002 – when Najib was the Defence Minister!
But Najib’s problems are not merely international ones, but local as well.
I find it most interesting and intriguing the statement yesterday by the UMNO Secretary-General Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor last night that all 191 UMNO division leaders fully supported the leadership of Najib as party president and prime minister.
Tengku Adnan said the cohesive support was revealed by the 191 division chiefs in a closed-door meeting with the Prime Minister at Seri Perdana the previous night – that all the Umno division heads told the prime minister that they were all behind him for religion, race, and country.
Which UMNO division head would be foolhardy as to say otherwise, even if Najib is no more his icon?
What is intriguing about Tengku Adnan’s revelation is that it is at this meeting that Najib had told his UMNO division chiefs that a majority of the 1.6 million civil servants were returning to support the Barisan Nasional government.
What is the basis of Najib’s confidence that the majority of the 1.6 million civil servants have returned to the fold of BN?
Najib now has to face his demons, admit that neither he nor the UMNO/BN coalition are invincible in the next general election as he has feet of clay, and that he faces three formidable challenges:
- Loss of support of the majority of Malays in the country.
- Loss of support of the majority of the 1.6 million civil servants in the country.
- Loss of the support of the highest percentage of UMNO members (at present, 3.5 million UMNO members) by any UMNO President in UMNO history.
Following the announcement of the Pakatan Harapan structure, logo and line-up on 14th July 2017, Pakatan Harapan stands an opportunity to defeat the UMNO/BN coalition to form the new Federal Government in Putrajaya in the 14th General Election.
This is why Najib is in panic mode.